88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be In 1988 (and not today)

Good morning, and welcome to yet another end of the world. As you have probably heard, the end of the world has been predicted as occurring today, as has been done so many times before. This time the one offering the prediction is a man named David Meade, and it involves the non-existent planet Nibiru.

I was pleased when Randal Rauser blogged a while back about the pamphlet “88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be In 1988.” I encountered that piece of creative yet inaccurate predicting of the end times in my teens, and I am certain that that has (appropriately, I think) influenced my thinking about other such predictions.

And so let me reshare here an excerpt from a blog post that I wrote in 2011, “Why There Will Be No Rapture” (updated to refer to David Meade rather than Harold Camping):

It does not make sense for Christians to continue to expect a literal “second coming” of Jesus.

To quote Anthony and Richard Hanson’s book Reasonable Belief, “An event that has been just around the corner for a thousand years is a non-event. Thinking Christians should not behave as if the Parousia was a genuine possibility” (p.196).

Jesus expected the arrival of the kingdom of God in the lifetime of his hearers (see Mark 9:1), and the earliest Christians shared that expectation. When it did not materialize as anticipated, they found a variety of ways of making sense of that. But today, quoting 2 Peter 3:8, which is itself part of a non-authentic letter attributed to Peter and is trying to address the disappointment of Christians that these expectations were not fulfilled, is simply to perpetuate the problem and not address it directly.

It isn’t just the timing that is the issue. The idea of a second coming with Jesus appearing in the sky is based on a view of the universe, which heaven literally “up there,” that is also hard if not impossible for anyone to accept today without serious cognitive dissonance.

Discussing the literal ascension Luke describes in Acts, Keith Ward writes in his book The Big Questions in Science and Religion (p.107): “We now know that, if [Jesus] began ascending two thousand years ago, he would not yet have left the Milky Way (unless he attained warp speed)”.

A time eventually comes when, instead of clinging to older beliefs, no matter how central they may have been historically, it is time to rethink them, and perhaps even set them aside in some cases.

The best antidote for preventing future frenzies of the sort that Harold Camping David Meade is generating, is to recognize that they are indeed trying to revitalize something that Christians have historically expected, namely a literal, physical, second coming of Jesus, and to explain why that expectation needs to be reinterpreted or set aside, since after some 2,000 years and in a universe much bigger and very different than anything the early Christians imagined, it no longer makes any more sense to take that literally than that the sun literally stood still at Joshua’s command.

You can read the rest here. See also my 2012 blog post on why the futurist interpretation of the Book of Revelation is so popular in the United States. And the FAQ for students in case of rapture.

What was your first end of the world? I will share once again the card for you to get stamped every time you “survive a rapture.”

This image is also worth sharing again on this occasion:

The Babylon Bee has poked fun at all of this in an article appropriately called “18 Reasons the Rapture will be in 2018.”

Finally, here’s another 2017 end of the world prediction that came to my attention via social media a while back.

End of the World 2017

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  • http://infiniteoceanoflightandlove.blogspot.com/ Daniel Wilcox

    This obsession with prophecy has been going on a long time, dating back to Reformation when some leaders predicted the end back then, and before that to some Roman Catholic leaders over 1,000 years ago, and back before that, etc.

    I still remember when a number of Evangelical leaders (Hal Lindsay, Chuck Smith, Josh McDowell. etc.) were predicting the end, or the near end, to happen in about 1982.

    Recently (2013), there were also the huge claims of the Christian leader of a megachurch in San Antonia, Texas, John Hagee, about the Four Blood Moons about to happen then and in history: “In 1493-1494, the four blood moons occurred on the Jewish holidays of Passover and the Feast of Trumpets. This signified the beginning of the fall of Spain following the expulsion of the Jews…that ‘the mantle of prosperity had thusly been placed on the shoulders of of an infant nation that would become the United States…

    Etc.
    I still remember hearing this when I was a Baptist kid growing up in Nebraska in the 1950’s. And then there were all of those rapture movies such as A Thief in the Night in the 70’s.
    Very strange.

    • Phil Ledgerwood

      “A Thief in the Night” traumatized me as a child, no kidding.

      • http://infiniteoceanoflightandlove.blogspot.com/ Daniel Wilcox

        Tragic. Sorry to hear that. The “prophecy” delusionary obsession of so many religious leaders has harmed many people.

    • Tony Prost

      1493-4 was the beginning of the fabulously wealthy Spanish Empire, built on gold from the New World.

      • http://infiniteoceanoflightandlove.blogspot.com/ Daniel Wilcox

        Yeah, that’s the utter absurdity of Hagee’s bizarre claim–“In 1493-1494, the four blood moons occurred on the Jewish holidays of Passover and the Feast of Trumpets. This signified the beginning of the fall of Spain…”
        etc.

        Just the opposite happened.

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

    The apostle Paulʼs predictions have proven as false as those of the Christians you mention: https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-apostle-paul-fanaticus-extremus-all.html

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      As I blogged about. Do you not read what I write before commenting? I am perfectly happy for you to link to your own content, but if you are here only to self-promote while deliberately giving the impression that you are saying something different from what I have been saying when you are not, that is inappropriate, as you presumably already know.

      • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

        I didn’t say anything that detracted from your post. I was merely emphasizing the NT’s own content and false prophecies, having produced a post featuring Paul’s phony predictions.